Callebaut Gets EU Approval to Say Chocolate Helps Health

Barry Callebaut AG, the largest maker of bulk chocolate, said the European Commission has given it permission to use labels saying that a substance in cocoa promotes healthy blood circulation.

The commission will allow the company to sell products in the European Union with a label saying “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow,” the Zurich-based company said today in a statement.

Barry Callebaut will use the label on its Acticoa brand of products, which are processed in a way that retains more flavanols, a substance that is mostly destroyed in conventional cocoa processing. The company, which makes chocolate for other food producers, will also allow customers who use Acticoa in their products to apply the claim. The commission ruled on a European Food Safety Authority opinion published in July 2012.

“We are very happy to be able to offer our Acticoa products with a health claim now, a real competitive differentiator for our customers,” Herwig Bernaert, who leads innovation projects at the company, said in the statement.

Companies need EU approval to make claims on their packaging purporting health benefits from food and drinks.

The stock rose 0.2 percent to 886 Swiss francs at 3:30 p.m. in Zurich.

Regular chocolate consumption may reduce the risk of developing heart disease by a third, according to research published in the British Medical Journal in August 2011.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that people who consumed the most chocolate had a 37 percent lower risk of developing heart disease and were 29 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who ate the least. They found no link between cocoa intake and heart failure.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.